New-look Sligo train unveiled
By Michael Moran ONE of the new trains to be introduced on the Sligo-Dublin line has made its maiden trip on part of the route for driver training.
The class 29000 rail cars will come into full service from December 11th next, but they will also operate intermittently ahead of their permanent introduction.
The Sligo line is to become the first InterCity link to have a full change of rolling stock, with the frequency of services also increased from three to five per day.
The diesel rail cars, which will be used as four piece and eight piece units, feature an engine motor in each piece, with the benefit of the train being able to continue should one or more of the engines fail.
A four piece 'set' arrived in Sligo from Longford on Thursday morning last as part of the driver training programme.
"The key date is December 11th, but people will see these trains in the interim period," said Mr. Michael Power, Service Planning Manager.
"We will be using both four and eight piece units on the Sligo line, depending on demand and scheduling," he explained.
Eighty of the Class 29000 units are in operation on commuter services since the end of 2003 and Iarnrod Eireann is awaiting delivery of 36 more of the units from Spanish manufacturers, SAF.
16 of the total pool of 116 will be on the Sligo/ Dublin line daily.
Mr. Power confirmed that InterCity trains will also operate on 'special services' at weekends.
Addressing some of the features of the trains new to the Sligo route, Mr. Power said they would have automatic doors, internal and exterior side and front passenger information displays, including the final destination and the 'next stop' station.
There was also modern air conditioning and heating and disabled toilet facilities.
"The fact that there is an engine in each individual carriage means that there is improved reliability. If there are eight cars, there are eight engines and it means that if one breaks down, the train will not 'fail' and will continue," said the Service Planning Manager.
Journey times to Dublin will be "more or less the same", according to Mr. Power